If you’ve ever tried to decorate an SCD birthday cake, then you know how hard it can be.
After years of subpar birthday cakes, I finally figured out how to decorate an SCD cake for my daughter’s 8th birthday. Kinda.
Originally, I had plans for an American-Girl-themed birthday party, but because I couldn’t find American Girl cake toppers or embellishments — and making them out of honey-based frosting wasn’t an option — the theme morphed into a tea party with dolls — and people — as guests. Then we decorated with balloons, hearts, and a few American Girl decorations. Before digging into the cake and frozen yogurt, we did lots of American Girl crafts, and drank tea like proper ladies.
The menu originally started out grander as well, but in the end here’s what we ended up with:
- SCD Lemon Cake with SCD Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
- Homemade SCD Frozen Strawberry Yogurt
- Fresh fruit: star fruit, strawberries, and blueberries
- SCD Punch (recipe below)
- Hot Tea
For the SCD Barbie birthday cake, I used the Wilton Classic Wonder Mold pan, and a La Dee Da doll. Because a double recipe of the cake was not enough to fill the pan completely, I needed a doll shorter than the traditional Barbie. (You could also use only the torso of a doll, or one of the doll picks designed specifically for decorating, but none of those seemed quite the right size or were attractive enough.)
Please excuse the quality of the cake. Without traditional decorator’s icing, or fondant, decorating with SCD frosting was almost like starting over. And please excuse the pictures too. I need better lighting, probably some photography lessons, and definitely a new kitchen ☺.
Here’s the SCD Lemon Birthday Cake recipe. Please note that its texture is heavy, like pound cake.
SCD Lemon Birthday Cake
4 eggs, separated
½ cup canola oil (or coconut oil)
1 cup honey
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 Tbs. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
1 Tbs. lemon flavor (organic, SCD)
5 cups almond flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Whisk the egg yolks until pale.
3. Add into the egg yolks, the canola oil, the honey, the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon flavor.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.
5. Fold egg whites into batter mixture.
6. In an additional bowl, add almond flour, salt and baking soda. Stir with a fork or dry whisk until well combined.
7. Fold the almond flour mixture into the batter gently.
8. Pour into a well-greased and floured (coconut oil and fine almond flour) cake pan.
9. The baking time is dependent upon the cake pan. The Wonder Mold pan took about an hour. However, the cake’s outside was much darker than a traditional flour cake would be. My suggestion is to underestimate the time you think your cake will need, then check it every 10-15 minutes with a toothpick — or skewer for the tall 3-D pans — until done.
10. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting it.
After I decorated the cake, I gave it more height and volume by placing it on a cake stand and surrounding the bottom of the stand with tulle, onto which I placed some heart decorations. You could also use a tulle cake skirt, which would be extra cute.
Here’s the SCD Buttercream Frosting recipe (adapted from this great recipe/tutorial at modernalternativemama.com) I highly suggest reading or watching a good tutorial before trying this for the first time. It came out great, but was a bit tricky. If I hadn’t known the mixture would turn into a soupy mess before it was done, I would have tossed it out as a failure.
SCD Buttercream Frosting
¾ cup honey
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1 lb. unsalted SCD butter
2-3 tsp. SCD vanilla extract
2-3 tsp. SCD lemon oil/flavoring (optional)
Important: All ingredients should be room temperature.
And please note: SCD butter should be without “natural flavorings.” Sometimes I can only find salted butter without flavorings. Use less salt in your “pinch” if using salted butter.
1. Add honey to saucepan and attach candy thermometer without allowing it to rest on the bottom of the pan. Set the heat to medium.
2. While the honey heats up to the softball stage — 240 degrees Fahrenheit — add the eggs and egg yolks to a large bowl (not to the honey), along with the pinch of salt.
3. Using a stand mixer if possible, whip the eggs until almost gelatinous. (This takes longer than you might think.)
4. When the honey reaches 240 degrees, remove the thermometer and very slowly pour the hot honey down the side of the mixer bowl as the eggs are beaten. (Obviously, a stand mixer is ideal.) Do not pour the honey directly onto the eggs, but down the side.
5. Continue to beat the egg and honey mixture until it is the consistency of marshmallow, and it has cooled down.
6. Add the very softened butter slowly, a chunk at a time, about 2-3 tablespoons. Initially the frosting will look runny. Keep going. It will attain proper shape when the last half-cup is added.
7. Add the vanilla, and lemon flavor if using. Mix gently.
8. Taste it to see if it needs more salt or vanilla. If so, add it. If not, you’re done.
Now you have SCD frosting. You can use it right away. However, if you want to pipe it, you may need to chill it. This is a tricky area that you’ll need to figure out based on the temperature inside your kitchen. If the frosting is too cold, you can’t pipe it at all. If it’s too soft, it won’t hold shape. Even smoothing it was a bit of a challenge, as you can see from the imperfect skirt on the doll cake.
The second issue is that the frosting was rich and not only tasted very strongly of butter, but it was also the color of butter. And only the color of butter. There seemed to be nothing I could do about that. I tried to change the color by adding some homemade blackberry juice concentrate, but that didn’t work, and I didn’t have time to come up with any other natural colorings to try. Hence the yellow dress. And hence the odd heart picks added to the dress as decoration to liven it up.
The good news is that the frosting freezes well, so you can keep some in stock for last-minute birthday party invitations. On top of an SCD cupcake — and with a decorative “pick” — they make great transportable mini SCD birthday cakes.
1 large can (46 oz) not-from-concentrate pineapple juice
1 quart. not-from-concentrate orange juice
1 liter carbonated water
6-12 oz frozen fruit instead of ice (I used pineapples chunks and strawberries.)
Chill all liquids until 15 minutes before the party. Pour into punch bowl and add frozen fruit.
This punch got rave reviews from the adults and kids.
After years of not having proper birthday parties for my daughter, I wanted this one to be one she would remember. So, I served the punch in champagne flutes with decorative straws, and the selection of teas in china my grandparents brought from Sweden when they immigrated in 1950. Definitely over the top. But after years of attending birthday parties where she couldn’t eat the food, I wanted this one to be special.
I’d love to hear about your SCD birthday cake successes!